Eclipse's former masters have always asked for something in exchange for power. Eclipse doesn't expect his new master to be any different.
Swearing allegiance, therefore, is no trivial matter, for all that often a demon has not much say in the process. Demon lords have every right to give a demon the choice of serving them or suffering whatever punishment the demon lord wishes to inflict upon them. The demon often has no ability to fight back against such a strong opponent, and thus is powerless. However, no demon appreciates being forced to comply, and there is also recognition of the fact that goodwill is important in a liegeman, particularly with high-powered demons. Often the power struggles of the demons are subtle and almost civil, with only a hint of threat and coercion. Thus, high-powered demons have sworn themselves quite amicably to serve particular demon lords or their lines. It is a gamble, as the swearing of allegiance grants the liegeman the lord's protection but completely gives up any protection the demon might have had from the lord him/herself. Once allegiance is given, the lord owns the demon, body and soul, unless the terms of allegiance are broken (usually with the lord's death or the death of the lord's line) or the demon grows enough in strength to demand a renegotiation. Thus, it is to a demon's benefit to be quite sure that the lord he/she wishes to swear fealty to will not use the demon in any way to which the demon will not be amenable.
Of course, trading some level of unpleasantness for some particular benefit is a popular tactic.
Eclipse never feared who his masters were, only what they might do.
Eclipse's first master, Bellina, taught him the basics of servitude. She enjoyed being waited upon and found Eclipse to be a fair-faced candidate for that duty. She was the first to order him to her bed and taught him much of what he knew of pleasing women and--on those occasions when she would bring a third into their bedplay--men. Still, she was relatively undemanding, and when Eclipse grew powerful enough to leave her service, they parted on friendly terms.
Eclipse's second master, K'tory, was of a completely different sort. He was politically strong and a truly devious manipulator whose desire for complete dominance extended into the bedroom. Eclipse was not his favorite (the lord preferred fair-haired toys), though he did find himself in K'tory's chambers on occasion, debasing himself in whatever ways his lord saw fit. From that lord Eclipse learned the value of a strong sense of self-worth. Where many of K'tory's playthings allowed themselves to be broken, Eclipse merely bent, reminding himself of the benefits of this particular servitude and recognizing that no matter what was demanded of him, it did not truly reflect him. When Eclipse left K'tory, it was with wary respect on both their parts.
Eclipse's third master, Nammon, was yet a different animal: a war demon steeped in the conflict with heaven's creatures. Eclipse entered into his service to learn the arts of war, and learn he did. Canny as a fox and savage as a wolf, there was no better teacher for strategy, no better arena for honing one's skills with blade or destructive magic. As was his wont, Nammon was a fair but most unforgiving master, and not all of his lusts were for blood. Serious mistakes earned Eclipse a night in the master's bed, where what little Eclipse had learned of pain from K'tory seemed as child's play compared to the cruelty of Nammon's hands and the ferocity of his lust. Eclipse earned Nammon's respect merely by surviving his punishment and responding with a simple, "I shall not fail you next time, my lord."
Eclipses's fourth master...was Raenef IV. The contrast between leaving Nammon's service and entering into the service of a child-demon was almost jarring. For decades Raenef had no desires beyond strengthening his power base and expanding his own knowledge and powers. Eclipse never doubted his wisdom in choosing to serve Raenef, though, as Eclipse's own magical powers grew and as Raenef's power doubled, then trebled through his mastery of incantated magic. By the time that Raenef IV reached adulthood, he and Eclipse knew each other well, and Eclipse knew that finally he had found a demon he could not surpass and would swear unending fealty to. When Raenef formally asked for his oath, he had had to interrupt Eclipse's immediate acceptance. "I must warn you, Eclipse. We have never broached the subject before, young as I was when you came to me, so I feel the need to mention it now, before you bind yourself to me." One hand reached out, long fingers trailing over Eclipse's jaw. "I would have you." A small, wry smile. "I would not be as demanding as others, perhaps, but...I would have you."
The fair warning, as well as the cool honesty of the Raenef lord's face, only reinforced Eclipse's convictions. He knelt and gave his oath then and there, and that night was the first time in many years that he'd gone to a demon lord's bed with anything warmer than stoic acceptance.
Raenef IV had spoken true. His appetites were not ravenous, nor particularly exotic compared to Eclipse's previous masters. Eclipse found those terms, and his master's company, more than acceptable, as Raenef was an attractive and considerate, if somewhat dispassionate, lover. And thus, they lived and ruled for many, many years.
And then, Raenef IV died.
Eclipse found himself at loose ends, yet he went about the daily business of ordering and defending the Raenef holdings out of a sense of duty. When he was called by the gods and charged with finding and serving Raenef V, he had not found the idea distasteful. It would be a fitting last bit of fealty to his previous lord, he thought. A small part of him had even wondered if perhaps Raenef V would become as great a demon lord as his predecessor.
Of course, that small hope had died when his search for the newest demon lord had led him to a sweet, blonde-haired boy who had all the ruthlessness and cunning of the average fluffy kitten.
At first, Eclipse had despaired, his pride stung as the other demon lords mocked his new master. Nonetheless, Eclipse found that Raenef V had a strength all his own. One that even Eclipse found himself completely disarmed before. And as young Raenef grew over the years to be every bit as powerful as his predecessor, Eclipse realized that this Raenef was in many ways even more dangerous to him than the previous.
Eclipse found it hard to remain objective around Raenef, after all. And as Raenef grew in power and maturity (Eclipse used the term...loosely), as he showed every evidence of becoming a great (if somewhat...unorthodox) demon lord, Eclipse found himself looking forward to the day when Raenef would ask of him what all of Eclipse's other masters had asked of him. And this, he knew, was the crux of the danger Raenef posed to him.
It was one thing to be a slave to another. It was quite another to be a willing slave.